by Guest Blogger, Nancy Shafee

Phew – when this appears, I will have come out from under my cloud of red wool. Very many thanks to all of you who bought one of my poppies, whether direct from my website or from one of the lovely small shops and galleries who agreed to sell them without taking any commission for themselves.  Heartwarming.

As we all get sucked up into the Christmas buying season, I thought you might all like something a bit different this month: my favourite Christmas Cake recipe.  I heard it on the radio many years ago and now everyone prefers this lighter cake to the dark heavy ones I used to make.  So this is thanks to whoever I heard telling us all the recipe for The Kimber Family Christmas Cake and sorry I don’t remember who you were!

rather understated Christmas cake decoration – make sure yours is better!

I thought I’d taken pictures of our Christmas cakes through the years, but I can only find one – this rather understated specimen and still in the preparation stages!  I’ve done some great cakes, too – with sparklers in the middle, sleighs and reindeer on top – all sorts of exciting things to impress my youngsters as they were growing up. Last year I make little marzipan houses for the top and a printed off a frieze of little houses to go all round the outside.   I’m really quite upset my filing system has let me down!
This year I am planning to keep the decoration pretty simple again but have found some nice pictures on the internet of rows of bottles. I am going to print them out over and over and use them for a frieze around the outside (to remind us of the booze within!) Maybe I’ll get some of those cute little champagne bottle candles….

Here we go, anyway, with the recipe:

  • 225g each of sultanas, raisins, currants and plain flour
  • 110g each of mixed candied peel , glace cherries and ground almonds
  • zest of one lemon and 1 orange
  • 4 tblsp brandy or dark rum – or indeed whatever you fancy – sherry?
  • 225g each of butter at room temperature and caster sugar
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼  tsp salt
  • 1½  tsp each of mixed spice and ground cinnamon
  1. Place the dried fruits, zests and brandy (or whatever) in a large bowl and mix together. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to soak overnight.
  2. The following day preheat the oven to 150C/300F and grease and triple line with parchment a deep 10-inch round cake pan.
  3. Sieve the flour, almonds, salt and spices into a bowl. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs a little at a time beating until fully combined. With the mixer on low add the flour mixture a large spoonful at a time, mixing just until combined. Using a large spatula or metal spoon fold in the fruit.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for an hour. Reduce the temperature to 100C/210F and bake for a further 2 hours until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. If the cake is browning too fast cover it lightly with foil.
  5. Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin before removing.

That done, you have time to procrastinate on Google Images or Pinterest – or indeed wherever you like browsing  ……  this month’s words: holly, winter, glitter

About Nancy

Nancy Shafee is a member of the International Feltmakers Association, Surrey Guild of Craftsmen and Professional Crafters Guild. She runs regular workshops both for wetfelting and for coiled fabric basket making and examples of her work can be seen at

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